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Peer-to-Peer by Andy Oram

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A case study: Accountability in Free Haven

As described in Chapter 12, the Free Haven project is working toward creating a decentralized and dynamically changing storage service that simultaneously protects the anonymity of publishers, readers, and servers, while ensuring the availability of each document for a lifetime specified by the publisher. Our goals of strong anonymity and long-term persistent storage are at odds with each other. Providing as much anonymity as possible while still retaining sufficient accountability is a very difficult problem. Here we will describe the accountability requirements in greater detail than in Chapter 12 and discuss some approaches to solving them.

Our job is two-fold: We want to keep people from overfilling the bandwidth available from and between servers, and we want to keep people from overfilling the system with data. We will examine each of these goals separately.

Micropayments

In general, there are a number of overall problems with using micropayments in peer-to-peer systems. This general analysis will help motivate our discussion of using micropayments in the Free Haven context. We’ll talk about them, then try to apply them to Free Haven.

The difficulty of distributed systems: How to exchange micropayments among peers

Consider the simple approach to micropayments introduced early in this chapter, in Section 16.3. Alice wants resources operated by Bob. Alice pays Bob with some micropayments. Bob provides Alice with the access she purchased ...

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